The Helium is a top of the range helmet from specialist manufacturer Lazer. It's very comfortable, but also has some unusual features that may not suit the needs or preferences of every cyclist.
This helmet's first unusual feature is instantly noticeable as soon as you put it on. The internal band that goes around your head is attached at just two points – front and back – to the inside of the helmet shell. This is different from most other helmets, where the internal band is usually fixed to the entire front and sides of the inside of the helmet shell, with adjustment available only at the back.
With just two fixing points on the Helium, you get adjustment all around the internal band, which means you can get the fit of the helmet exactly right for your shape of head. Lazer call this all-round feature the 'Rollsys Retention System', and the fit is adjusted via a small dial set into the top of the back of the helmet shell.
On the upside, this Rollsys system means you get additional comfort, especially handy if you have an unusual shaped head or find other helmet designs uncomfortable.
On the downside, because the internal band that goes around your head is fixed to the helmet at just the front and back, you get a bit more side-to-side wobble than on conventional helmets, although this is apparent only when you're putting on the helmet and tightening the straps to get the fit right, not when you're actually riding your bike.
Also on the downside, because there are no side fixing-points, the internal band slips down below the shell of the helmet, and is visible. This is not the end of the world, and it's not unique to the Lazer Helium, but it does look unusual compared to other some helmet brands with conventional fixing. In addition, the bits of red wire that are part of the retention system also show below the back and sides of the helmet, further adding to the odd appearance.
But looks are a personal thing, and what looks odd to some riders may look cool to others, so let's move on beyond appearance and study some of the helmet's other features.
According to Lazer's website, the Helium construction includes a Rigidity Brace System, which is a reinforced 'roll cage' integrated into the foam of the shell to 'to improve impact resistance and guaranteeing higher safety'. There's also Double Density EPS, where 'lighter and denser weight foam [is] used in more or less critical areas for overall weight reduction'.
This is all good stuff, especially as safety will be the key priority for most cyclists. On the other hand, it makes for a relatively bulky shell (the outside dimensions are bigger than the Met and Carrera helmets with similar internal sizing that were lurking in the road.cc lab). Some riders may find the Lazer's style and size reassuring in the case of an accident, while other riders may prefer a lid that's a little more svelte.
This brings us to weight. Despite the lighter-than-air moniker, the Helium weighed in at 299g (size Medium) on the road.cc scales, and the size Large topped 360g. This is more than the 260g claimed for the size Medium on the manufacturer's website. If weight is your concern, there are many other helmets out there under 300g, and some get down to nearer 200g.
Another of the Lazer's unusual features is the pad that goes across the forehead. It's made of a gel-like plastic padding which feels cool and slightly wet to the touch. It's designed to keep your forehead cool, and it does to a certain extent, but it doesn't stop you sweating completely. On a test rides I found that once I started to sweat, the droplets dripped into my eyes a bit more than usual, because there's no towelling or other absorbent material at the front of the helmet to soak up the moisture.
While we're on the subject of sweating, the padding under the top of the helmet is made with something called X-Static, designed to minimise odour and the growth of bacteria. That's handy, but then rinsing your helmet in hot water every now and again is an equally good way to avoid unpleasant smells. (Stop sniggering at the back.)
The Helium's straps are thinner than most conventional helmet straps. They are comfortable against the skin (and, for male cyclists, don't snag on stubble) but because they're more flexible they do have propensity to twist and then jam in the side buckles.
The adjustment dial has a red LED inside it, which you can turn on by pushing a button. This is handy if a ride takes longer than expected and you're caught at dusk with no lights.
On colour, our test model is mainly black, grey and silver. Other shades available include red, blue, white, orange and yellow, plus a model featuring rainbow bands for all you wannabee World Champions.
On cost, the Helium packs a less-that-lightweight price tag, with recommended retail a penny under £180. You can find it a bit cheaper at the usual on-line stores, but that's still a lot of cash compared to some other helmets out there.
Overall, this Lazer Helium has some innovative features, but also has some aspects that don't quite seem to work. However, it is undeniably comfortable, so if you find the fitting of other brands too tight or too loose for the shape of your head, then this helmet may be worth a try.
Big, safe and comfortable helmet, but a few quirky features means it may not suit everyone. Expensive too.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Lazer Helium helmet
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
This product is a cycling helmet, aimed at the sportier end of the market. The Lazer website includes the following features:
"Vent tunnel tested; Worn by all pro riders
Fit System: Rollsys® Retention System
Construction: Inside In-Mold (7 pieces)
Ventilation: 19 vents
Weight: approx. 260g(M) CE
Certification: CE - CPSC - AS"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The Lazer website goes on to say: "Compared to the standard fit systems the Lazer Rollsys® system is a fully integrated mechanism which surrounds the head completely. By turning a smooth thumb wheel – situated on top of the helmet – the Rollsys® system permits an accurate and progressive peripheral sizing adjustment. The fit of the helmet will symmetrically be tightened up without any pressure points on the head. The Rollsys® system offers an innovative one hand use and is easy to handle even during riding. By taking away the retention system at the back the Rollsys® system is also the perfect solution for people with a ponytail."
We haven't tested the construction of the Lazer Helium by falling off or hitting it with a hammer. But according to the manufacturer's website, the helmet has a reinforced 'roll cage' integrated into the foam of the shell to 'to improve impact resistance and guaranteeing higher safety'.
Comfort is very good, but performance is marred by the lack of a sweat-band on the forehead, and the tendency of the straps to twist and jam in the buckles.
The size Medium weighs 299g. This is more than the 260g claimed for the size Medium on the manufacturer's website. The size Large is 361g. If weight is your concern, there are many other helmets available under 300g, with some nearer 200g.
Comfort is very good, thanks to the all-round 'Rollsys Retention System' - especially handy if you have an unusual shaped head or find other helmet designs uncomfortable. As with any helmet it's importatnt to get the correct size, but especially important with the Rollsys system, so so this is definitely a helmet to try before you buy.
However, if you don't find other helmets uncomfortable, then a helmet with the Rollsys system may not be essential.
The Helium's many innovative features no doubt contribute to the £180 price-tag, but this is still a lot of money compared to similar lids from Lazer and other brands.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
On comfort, the Lazer Helium peformed very well, and according to the manufacturer's website it also has several important safety features - which are an obvious priority in a helmet.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Personally, I did not like the way the internal band falls below the outer shell of the helmet - although that's just an appearance thing. on a more practical note, I didn't like the way the thin straps tended to twist and jam in the side buckles, and the gel-pad at the front didn't seem to absorb sweat effectively.
Did you enjoy using the product? Not really.
Would you consider buying the product? No.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? I'd recommend they tried it if they found conventional helmet fitting systems uncomfortable.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Safety and comfort are excellent, thanks to the internal roll cage and innovative fitting system, and on that basis this helmet might score 9. But it's physically big, and has an equally hefty price-tag, and is let down by some features that don't quite work, giving an overall score of 6.
About the tester
Age: 51 Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm Weight: 11 stone / 70kg
I usually ride: an old Marin Alp, or an old steel classic My best bike is: an old Giant Cadex (can you see a theme here?)
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,